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Sanders urges support for Newsom amid recall effort

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersBiden's policies are playing into Trump's hands Hillicon Valley: Amazon wins union election — says 'our employees made the choice' On The Money: Biden .5T budget proposes major hike in social programs | GOP bashes border, policing provisions MORE (I-Vt.) on Monday urged his supporters to rally behind California's embattled governor, Gavin NewsomGavin NewsomCalifornia to spend 6M on wildfire prevention Former Trump campaign manager advising Jenner on potential California gubernatorial run Overnight Health Care: Biden says US still in 'life and death race' with virus | White House rules out involvement in 'vaccine passports' | Arkansas lawmakers override Hutchinson veto on transgender bill MORE (D), who faces a recall campaign.

Sanders in a tweet noted Republican opposition to Newsom is centered around the governor's "crime" of trying to stop the spread of COVID-19 in the state.

"Right-wing Republicans in CA are trying to recall @GavinNewsom for the crime of telling people to wear masks and for listening to scientists during COVID. Extremist Republicans have done enough to undermine democracy already," he said. "We must all unite to oppose the recall in California." 

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The tweet followed news that the GOP-led recall effort's organizers believe they have enough signatures to trigger an election. Under California law, just under 1.5 million signatures from state residents are required to start the process.

Newsom has faced criticism from some voters in the state over both his COVID-19 restrictions targeting businesses as well as the speed of California's vaccine rollout. A poll published in early February found that fewer than a third of state residents approve of the job he has done managing the pandemic.

The governor was also sharply criticized after attending a birthday celebration at the prestigious French Laundry restaurant last November after COVID-19 restrictions were put in place. Newsom later said that had he known the number of attendees, he would not have gone.

Newsom first took office in 2018 with 62 percent of the vote, and his party has a supermajority in the state's legislature. He has previously faced several recall campaigns, all of which failed to make it to the ballot.